Music from a lone bagpipe filled the air. Ceremonial units from the NYPD stood at attention. Mourners wiped away tears. This was the somber scene outside Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Bay Ridge as family and friends came to pay their final respects to 68th Precinct Auxiliary Police Captain Linying Gong, who died early last week after a long battle with cancer. She was 60 years old.
“Today, we come together, not so much to mourn her loss, but to honor her for what she did in life,” said NYPD Deputy Chaplain Robert J. Romano. “It’s not the sadness of this day, but it’s the joy of knowing her, of being a part of her life, of having her be a part of our life and holding onto that memory so that we can live her legacy. That’s what it’s all about today.”
To those who knew her best, Gong will be remembered as a caring individual who put the needs of others ahead of her own. Her positive attitude and optimism served as an inspiration to everyone around her. She never gave up hope, even as her health deteriorated.
Gong, a 35-year veteran of the auxiliary force, made headlines two months ago when she became the first female Asian auxiliary captain in the City of New York. Throughout her career, she served at precincts in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, but she spent the last six years stationed in Brooklyn Borough South.
“She always smiled. She never complained about being sick,” said Auxiliary Police Chief Anthony Christo, choking back tears. “We are going to miss her as much as her blood relatives.”
Gong enjoyed going out on patrol because she wanted to give something back to the community that she had called home for so many years. When she wasn’t on duty, she enjoyed taking in the local sites and grabbing a hot dog at Coney Island.
Two years ago, Gong was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She had to undergo chemotherapy and weekly blood transfusions, nevertheless she remained hopeful about the future.
“It was a shock, but the only thing I could do was try to deal with it,” she said in an interview with this newspaper, outside her Shore Road apartment, less than a month ago. “I was getting some bleeding, but otherwise I felt good. It was in its beginning stages, so I decided I was going to fight it.”
Gong relied on the support of Alan Clark, her partner in life and on the auxiliary force, to help her deal with the pain and discomfort of her illness.
At the funeral mass, Clark could barely hold back his grief, and only managed to say a few words.
“You have my everlasting love and respect,” he said. “Goodbye.”
In addition to her work with the auxiliary police, Gong also held a day job as a senior technical support engineer at Oracle. Her co-workers were devastated to hear of her passing.
“Lin was a person of many experiences,” said coworker Viken Parikh. “She knew so much but she would always say, ‘I still have to learn.’ So that’s one thing that Lin taught me, no matter how much you know, you can always learn more.”
“She always had something to say and it was always positive,” said coworker, Dan Naujokas. “No matter what bad things were happening in the office. She didn’t care. She just let it roll off her back. She was incredibly bright and bubbly.”